Gen Con 50 – View from the Chair (days 3 and 4)

 

Yes, Day 3 of Gen Con came, and though the numbers were technically not larger, it seemed more packed, I think. Yesterday ended later for us, but for a fun reason, as T.R. attended an awards ceremony for the ENnies, the EN World RPG Awards. His “Cyclopaedia” blog was one of five blog nominees for an award, and though it was not a winner, two different games he assisted with did win gold and/or silver awards!

But what were those other snapshots of on Friday? The one plain shot of an elevator wasimg_1390 a reminder of how thankful we are for the elevators and skywalks that allow us to attend events in and around the Convention Center without trying to navigate stairs or crazy twisting ramps. …We hit our first snag here, though, when Thursday evening’s elevator from the skywalk to the Convention Center was dead. And there was nobody to contact, no number to call. We ended up making our way across to a parking garage where we could take an elevator down, then walk along the city street to enter the Convention Center, once we found an entrance on that side that didn’t involve a stairway. Thankfully, it had been repaired by the time we were on the way back from our evening event.

Other events Friday included demo-ing (then purchasing) two new games. One img_1397that excited me to most was Codenames Duet, a cooperative two person version of the popular party game. Yes, it’s a neat game, but what excited me the most wasn’t just the game itself, but the fact that the convention demonstration size of the lettering on the cards was huge… so I could read it from a few feet away without problem! Though the demo sized tiles are not sold, I’m contacting the company to encourage them to make this version available! Small text size on playing cards is one of the more frustrating bits of gameplay I face, and what a beautiful solution this option could be. We shared these thoughts with those running this game room, and I will communicate with the publisher after we’re home.

One little piece of Gen Con I enjoy each year is the balloon sculpture.

 

This year’s Golden Dragon, representing the 50th Anniversary, is quite lovely. More was pieced together each day, and we could view the final celebratory piece on Sunday! (I didn’t attend the final popping.)img_1442

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Bob Ross “The Art of Chill” board game

Saturday evening had also been an extra special game time, with friends gathering in our hotel lobby/breakfast area to share pizza and snacks, then img_1417play new games we had purchased – my favorite was one that is now available at Target stores. If you also grew up watching “The Joy of Painting on PBS, you also may enjoy the game where you earn points for painting fluffy clouds, happy trees, and mighty mountains.  Some of those who gathered were those who rarely meet face-to-face, but know one another via online communications through Innroads Ministries.

Sunday brought one of our favorite parts of the week, the img_1433Christian worship service. This gathering of believers to sing praise, share communion,  and hear a telling message from Tom Vasel. Though the speaker is known in the gaming community as the founder and host of the game review podcast “The Dice Tower,” he is also an ordained minister. His message was right on target with this audience. The three points (as most sermons possess) were simple:

1. Be content. (even when you’re attending an event that shows you so many games and things you “must have.”
2. Listen. In our busy world – and a busy Con also – take time to stop and listen. And Hear. Sometimes, we need reminders to stop talking, to take in messages from others.
3. Rest. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous note to rest… and no, resting does not indicate laziness, but it is necessary physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We certainly appreciated Tom Vasel’s timely words, and after we left to join the final day img_1445at Gen Con, we prepared to meet with various people, then we had a unique, unexpected lunch that showed another way a business took an “invisible issue” img_1810seriously. At a daughter’s request, we decided to visit “The Walking Waffle Company” in the food court of Circle Center Mall. Their menu offered different meal options – the breakfast waffle with bacon, eggs, and cheese looked lovely, and the chicken waffle sounded fun. I have an unusual, rather annoying allergy: black pepper. As I do at any restaurant, I asked the gentleman taking orders if the chicken or breakfast waffles contained any black pepper. He thoughtfully responded, “The eggs don’t, but several items do, and I’m afraid pepper could  remain on the grill and leach into the eggs.” He then carefully considered and found that the Waffle Club Sandwich should work for me. Not only was he correct there, but I found a new, unexpected treat. I know that food allergies can be tricky, particularly when they’re uncommon. I do appreciate a private restaurant owner, even in a popular food court, taking the time to accommodate a silly allergy.

As we walked toward our room after lunch, a game-editing friend passed us in the hallway. John had injured his foot and was in a wheelchair (where he had not been when I talked with him on Saturday morning). “The world is different from this view – it’s quite… disconcerting.” John then described an interaction he’d had with a taller friend – about 6′ 5″ – and he said they were so far apart that he felt cut off from the rest of the world. Trying to converse with a taller friend woke him up to a different perspective.

Gen Con 50 did hold more than the snippets I described. So many neat conversations with people from around the world, here just a ninety minute drive from our home. Games and costumes and celebrations and more. But me? My “battery” is such that I took a nap each afternoon, while the rest of the family worked at a booth each afternoon. I enjoyed and appreciated the experiences I had – Nice job, Gen Con 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 29 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Goodbye summer break, hello garden blessings

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What a joy it has been to focus on thankfulness as the summer continues on! With just two days left in my “Thirty Day” journey, I’ll make certain to highlight a few that are particularly timely.

Today’s Five Thankful Things:

  1. firstday16.JPGFirst Day tradition – Since our daughters were in preschool, we have taken a “first day of school” photo each year. And our lovely girls agree to hold up a sign and smile each year, with the promise that we will not follow them to college with these signs.
  1. Caring, intelligent teachers – Our daughters have attended public school since kindergarten, and we have been blessed each year with special teachers who really do care about their students. At a time when public schools face budget and political struggles, I have so appreciated Eastbrook Schools and the caring faculty and  at its heart.
  1. berriesBerries still! – Our blackberry bushes continue to be fruitful, and I try to enjoy them when I have the chance. Looks like we’ll be making at least one more batch of jam! And we have several quarts frozen. Fresh berries just can’t be beat!
  1. Fresh veggies from the garden! – Today’s lunch at IMG_0689home came from our garden, picked over the past couple days. Other than the large okra (should have been picked before it grew too large), I enjoyed sweet peppers, smaller okra, cucumber, and tomatoes. Then berries. Oh – and watermelon from our garden!
  1. Rose of Sharon’s first blooms – A few months ago, we planted a few saplings of “Rose of Sharon,” shared by my friend Ellen. Her bush is a combination of white, lavender, and pink blooms, as the bushes grew tightly into each other. But these were just planted here in April, and I hadn’t even expected them to bloom on this first year. What a beautiful surprise to find out this morning that these were both blooming!

Day 25 – Thirty Days of Thanks – random summer stuff

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Summer break is a time for fun mini-adventures, often within the walls of our house. “Fun” for us may not be what would excite others, but isn’t that part of what makes summer break especially lovely? The chance to pause and enjoy unique blessings – I’ll share a few of those below.

Today’s 5 Thankful Things:

  1. IMG_0613New recipes to try – When I saw “French toast waffles” in a recipe email, I decided to give it a try. And family members made it work – this was fun!
  1. IMG_0619Twinkletoes – or at least painted toenails. Though she has lovely blue-painted nails herself, my kind daughter painted my toenails a beautiful burgundy.
  1. Blog adventures with our girls – On her own blog, twin number one examined the inner struggle she faces IMG_0629while finishing an assignment due at the start of school. She has this final paper almost completed, and the last part of it finds her dragging her heels. (It IS vacation, and I wonder how many AP students will have this assignment finished. This girl will, I know. But that doesn’t mean she has to like it.)
  1. Blog adventure number two – The second sister has been continuing to post on her art blog daily. You may recall that she started the blog in early July – how fun to see the growth that has been taking place!
  1. More game adventures – My husband and his friends have been playing a “legacy” game over the past few months, a game where things change and cards are even torn up as they go. It is so fun to hear these four friends laughing and groaning and cheering and lamenting… proof that games aren’t just for kids. Or that “kids” are defined by more than age.

Day 20 – Thirty Days of Thanks

Today’s 5 Thankful things:

  1. Skype – How lovely to chat with our friends, Dave and Heidi! I still feel like I’m living in the world of “The Jetsons” when I talk at a screen, then see and hear a response. Amazing – and even more wonderful is the chance to spend an hour sharing with friends, being able to look into their eyes as we share about our lives.
  1. Sharing veggies with friends – and spending the morning with our lovely friend Armila, who picked some berries then helped Em and Rach pull someDaisy stubborn weeds. (Thank you, Armila, for the weeding assistance!) I also appreciate how we all agreed that “weeds” with pretty flowers are only pulled if it’s to place them in a vase. (That is where my little white daisies keep coming from.)
  1. Music stores – the kind that sell instruments, not img_0584albums. We visited a Fort Wayne music store that we’d seen the name of but hadn’t visited… and a seventeen-year-old was able to test play different saxes to consider the
    purchase of a new one really soon. Neat trip!
  1. Missing the rain – I love it when rain is just starting as we walk into a store, we hear it pounding above while we’re inside, and it stops as we exit an hour later. And our formerly dusty vehicle now looks sparkly clean!
  1. Fruit cobbler – Baked on Wednesday, T.R.’s large dish of blackberry cobbler left goodness that can still be shared over the next couple of days. Yum!

    cobbler

    fresh, warm cobbler with frozen yogurt

Day 15 – Thirty Days of Thanks – There’s no place like home

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I wrote this on Friday the 15th, but due to craziness of luggage, laundry, and anniversary celebration, it wasn’t posted. Here it is, a tiny bit before Day 17.

Today’s 5 Thankful things – Returning home

  1. Fresh streusel – http://www.harbertswedishbakery.com/ Starting our final lake morning with fresh streusel from the nearby Swedish bakery was indeed lovely. (Thank you, T.R., for the bakery trip yesterday!)
  1. Sweet hugs from young nieces – It was nice to see our young nieces, ages 9 and 11, for an entire week. They may be similar, but they are as different as our own two daughters (more, of course, since they’re two years apart rather than thirteen minutes.) It reminded me of our girls’ elementary years, while also helping me appreciate how far Em and Rach have come.
  1. Ahhh, home – How nice it was to step into our own house. Aaaahhhh.
  1. Sleeping in our own bed – Our own mattress, sheets, pillows… so we can be home for our anniversary. Nice.
  1. A home without stairs – I don’t fully appreciate the way we designed our own home until I spend time at a place with plenty of steps. Our stairway-free house is appreciated even more at times like this!

 

Day 16 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Anniversary Blessings!

 

Today’s 5 Thankful things – A few of the many reasons I’m thankful for my dear husband:

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    T.R. and Angie on “Lovers’ Lane” in 2008 at Green Gables

    Today is our second palindromic anniversary – And we’re both geeky enough to know and care what this means. These twenty-two years have been far from perfect, but I’m so glad we’ve enjoyed them together!

  1. T.R. is such a wonderful father to our two girls – From reading or playing catch with little ones to driving them to their junior prom, he has been there for them – a much-loved Daddy indeed!

  1. TR Angie beach chairHe finds ways to help me, even when it’s uncomfortable or highly inconvenient
    – T.R. and I have joined forces in helping define reasonable “accessibility” issues. He’ll help me find solutions to problems I knew were there, but hadn’t pinpointed.
  1. We have grown together in ways we would never have predicted – As my own roles and abilities have been redefined, he has also found ways to rework his own path to help take up the slack caused by my MS limitations. Along the way, he has further developed his skills with gardening and cooking, two things it pains me to leave behind. But I can still do a bit with this, even if vicariously.
  1. My “Knight in faded denim” is more dashing than he was in 1994 – and he was a handsome fellow then!

 

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our anniversary trip two years ago

I have so much more to write, but I’ll add specifics over the coming days. I just had to say before the end of today – Happy Anniversary, T.R. – I love you!

Day 13 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Family Blessings

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Today’s 5 Thankful things – ice cream, family, and memories: 

  1. oinks sign.JPGFun ice cream shop IMG_0521.JPGOink’s Dairy Delight offers a fun trip for our family each summer – wonderful dips of hard ice cream in more flavors than Ivanhoe’s has in its case. And fun decorations, even in the parking spots!
  1. Thoughtful little meal choices – When somebody like me has annoying allergies (like jalapeño peppers and black pepper), it is so appreciated when those preparing meals find ways to kindly, not ostentatiously, make necessary alterations. Thank you, Phoenix and Laura!
  1. Cousin love cousins16It is such a beautiful thing when cousins who haven’t seen one another for months (about a year, really) get to see one another, even if only for a few hours. Love you, Carolyn and Pam! It is especially enjoyable to trip through past memories, and to give our own children a chance to touch base with their second cousins.
  1. The quietest “party game” ever – “Codenames” is great fun, and our family, ages 9-73, really enjoyed playing this game several times. The game has won several awards, and I see why!
  1. The family puzzle – We brought a “3-D Castle” puzzle with us to the lake castle puzzlethis year, and at least six different family members worked together to complete this. With my uncooperative vision, puzzles tend to be an exercise in frustration for me, but I really enjoy viewing completed masterpieces!